Pakistan Super League and Peshawar Zalmi are widely popular in Pakistan, which makes sense as the former is the country's own product and the latter are the league's reigning champions. But the two are 'massive' in Bangladesh as well, according to Zalmi batsman Tamim Iqbal.
In an interview with DawnNews, the stylish Bangladesh batsman claimed the PSL and Zalmi have a major fan following back home due to his and Shakib Al Hasan's association with the two brands.
"Peshawar Zalmi in Bangladesh is massive and so is PSL," said Iqbal. "I think everybody follows it. This is because there are a couple of Bangladeshi players playing in PSL and wherever we go our people follow that league.
"Peshawar Zalmi is the most followed franchise in Bangladesh because I’ve been involved with them from the beginning; it’s my third season with them, while Shakib’s been here too so I can surely tell you that for Bangladeshi people Peshawar Zalmi is number one."
Iqbal signed for Zalmi before the PSL's debut season in 2016 and has since remained with Zalmi, with the ongoing season being his third with the franchise.
Shakib, meanwhile, played with Karachi Kings in 2016 before joining Iqbal at Zalmi the next year and would've played in the PSL for the third straight year had an ill-timed hand injury not ruled him out of the 2018 tournament.
'Zalmi still fighting'
Zalmi's title defence this year has not started well, with them losing twice in their first three games, although Iqbal is not panicking just yet.
"We haven’t started the way we would have liked to but that’s fine because we’re still fighting," he told DawnNews. "Even when we scored just 130 runs the other day we never gave it up, which is very important for a team."
Next up for Zalmi is Thursday's fixture with Quetta Gladiators — a side they beat in last year's final — and while Iqbal is not fazed by his side's twin defeats so far in the tournament, he has urged his teammates to embark on a winning spree.
"Every game is important from now on," he said. "We’re playing a very good team in Quetta. The main thing is getting the momentum in the right time. And this is the right time for us to win a few games, get the momentum on our side and carry it deep into the tournament."